Are you concerned about a smell coming through your ductwork?
Your furnace is critical for comfort during the colder months. And, it’s important that you are aware of the things that could indicate a problem – like certain smells. While many smells may be harmless, there are a few that can indicate a problem that needs immediate attention. It’s important to know when to take action or monitor a situation to make sure it doesn’t persist.
Here are some common smells, what they may indicate and what your next step should be if you smell them coming through your ductwork.
Smoke. Even if smoke isn’t coming from your furnace, you should still leave the house and get help.
Natural Gas. Natural gas does not actually have a smell, but a sulfuric odor is added so you can tell if there’s a leak. If you smell natural gas, get everyone out of the house and call the gas company or 911. Do not fiddle with any electrical equipment and make sure to wait until you are out of the house to call for help. A spark could ignite the gas.
Moldy. This could be a sign that you need to change one of the filters in your equipment. If you have access to the filter, go ahead and change it. If the smell continues, call a contractor so they can diagnose the problem.
Burning Dust. This is the smell that is often associated with first kicking on your gas furnace for the season. As long as it does not last very long, it is not a cause for concern. Like the moldy smell, make sure you call a contractor if it does not go away.
Electrical Burning Smell or Melting Rubber/Plastic. This could be a potential fire hazard and indicate a malfunctioning component of your equipment. The first step you should take is to check your registers (something may have fallen in a register). If you cannot find anything, make sure you call a local heating and cooling contractor for next steps and diagnosis.
The best way to to make sure that none of these problems occur during the heating season is to schedule preventative maintenance in the fall. If you forget, make sure you pencil in a reminder next year.
Have you ever experienced any of these smells? How did you handle it?